Cricket World Cup 2023: India look to sustain momentum; Kohli has chance to get historic hundred

Kohli had equalled Sachin Tendulkar's record of 49 ODI hundreds against South Africa at Kolkata, and the wait is on for his 50th ton

By PTI

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Photo: PTI
Photo: PTI

Published: Sat 11 Nov 2023, 3:20 PM

The marauding Indians have not put a foot wrong in their authoritative run in the World Cup and it won't be a surprise if they go about plundering Netherlands in their final league game, where Virat Kohli will have a perfect opportunity to scale 'Mount 50' at his spiritual home.

India have already qualified for the semifinals while the eliminated Netherlands are on their way home, and this situation casts a perception of insignificance on their fixture. However, in reality, there are no academic-natured matches in a World Cup, where teams constantly try to better their best in the quest for ultimate glory.

India are no different as they look to maintain the momentum while ticking off a few team goals against the Netherlands, hence a large-scale change to the hosts’ playing eleven looks unlikely at this stage.

Since cricket is often a game of outcome and numbers, an approaching historic personal milestone gives this game an exciting undertone as well, which also carries importance from the team’s perspective.

Kohli had equalled Sachin Tendulkar's record of 49 ODI hundreds against South Africa at Kolkata, and the wait is on for his 50th ton. So far, he has amassed 543 runs, leading India’s batting chart - also marking the first time Kohli is going past the 500-run mark in the 50-over World Cup.

He had made 282 runs in 2011, 305 in 2015 and 443 in 2019, while Tendulkar, Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma played the lead roles with the bat in those editions.

Hence, Kohli will not want any slip up in India's last league game, using it as preparation ground to return to his sharp self ahead of the semifinals after a week-long gap following the match against the Proteas.

From a team point of view, the management might just want to see some runs against Suryakumar Yadav's name. He has made 85 runs from four matches at an average of 21.25.

He is the only missing individual piece in this Indian line-up where other frontline batters have made at least one fifty and the whole turn of events corroborates with his modest run in the ODIs as well.

Suryakumar got into the eleven after the injury-enforced absence of Hardik Pandya, but the Mumbaikar has not really cashed in on the opportunity yet. Netherlands gives him a good chance to correct that anomaly.

Similarly, the Indian batting upfront has a minor glitch, one that has gone a bit unnoticed in the flow of their eight successive wins in the tournament.

Openers Rohit and Shubman Gill have stitched together three fifty-plus stands in the tournament, but in five other matches they were separated quickly.

But in those three games, they went off the blocks quite quickly, putting the opposition through the wringer.

They have made 88 runs in 12.4 overs against Bangladesh, 71 in 11.1 overs against New Zealand and 62 in 5.5 overs against South Africa.

But on other times, their alliance was snapped at 5, 32, 23, 26 and 4. The thinktank would like them to expand the footprint of those three matches, and Netherlands, no respect lost here, give them a perfect platform to do that.

India’s bowling, on the other hand, remained largely trouble free with the three pacers and the two spinners delivering frequently.

Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and Mohammed Siraj have made run-making a hazardous option for opposition batters, but a bit more consistency in line and length from Siraj could be welcomed by the management.

But overall, this ultra-efficient five-man unit will be looking for one final rehearsal ahead of the last four match, potentially against New Zealand at Mumbai.

Turning to the Dutch camp, they will be a happy bunch to give at least a few rough moments to this red-hot Indian side.

They have some capable bowlers in Logan Van Beek, Bas de Leede and Paul van Meekeren but on an often-smooth Chinnaswamy Stadium pitch they will be hard pressed to stop a strong Indian batting establishment.

Their top-order batters like Teja Nidamanuru, Max O’Dowd and Wesley Barresi have struggled for runs in this tournament and tackling a well-oiled Indian bowlers could prove too hot a task for them.

Squads: India: Rohit Sharma (c), Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul, Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ishan Kishan, Prasidh Krishna, Suryakumar Yadav.

Netherlands: Scott Edwards (c), Max O'Dowd, Bas de Leede, Vikram Singh, Teja Nidamanuru, Paul van Meekeren, Colin Ackermann, Roelof van der Merwe, Logan van Beek, Aryan Dutt, Ryan Klein, Wesley Barresi, Saqib Zulfiqar, Shariz Ahmad, Sybrand Engelbrecht.

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